A £2.55m hardship fund* that only launched on Friday to help musicians that are struggling financially during the Covid-19 pandemic is already in danger of reaching capacity, according to the charity that set it up. Help Musicians says that as of Monday morning, over 3,500 applications had been received and funding mostly allocated to those most in need.
● The fund, which launched on Friday, received an application every 5-10 seconds
● Help Musicians is asking individuals and organisations that love music and are able to donate to do so via its website
● 99% of musician’s say that they have worried about their financial situation during lockdown, with 46% saying this is having a ‘strong’ or ‘severe’ impact on their wellbeing
The charity launched the second phase of the hardship fund after it became clear that many musicians did not qualify for the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme - something it has not changed despite strong and sustained pressure from the industry. As such, many musicians have fallen through the gaps of the Government’s emergency safety nets and have been left with nothing but Universal Credit to survive on.
It follows Help Musician’s first £5m Covid-19 fund, which it launched on 25 March - just two days after lockdown was announced by the UK Government to provide immediate financial relief. The £5m ran out in a matter of days but Help Musicians was able to make further donations to musicians over the course of the following month through generous additional donations, taking the total donated to £8.35m to 16,700 musicians in four weeks.
The vast majority of musicians in the UK are self-employed and have had their income completely wiped out because of Covid-19. As a result, research by Help Musicians has found that 99% have worried about their financial situation during lockdown. A similar number (98%) say this is impacting their wellbeing - 46% of which say the impact is strong or severe.
The new financial hardship fund provides grants to struggling professional musicians which they can apply for online, giving them assistance over the next six months to pay for things such as household bills and other living costs. It is a vital source of financial aid to self-employed musicians who do not qualify for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, as well as other unemployed musicians who are relying on Universal Credit alone, or are struggling to get by on the little support they receive.
However with so many applications already received, it is likely that not all musicians will be able to access the essential relief they need. Help Musicians is asking those who are in a position to donate to give whatever they can through the website, in order to help plug the funding gap. Every penny donated to Help Musicians goes straight to the frontline without any deduction to cover its operating costs or overheads.
However, the charity is also keen to make clear that even if the fund runs out, any struggling musicians should still get in touch, as they may be able to help in other ways.
James Ainscough, Chief Executive said, “Whilst lockdown restrictions are slowly starting to lift, musicians will continue to be among some of the hardest hit by Covid-19 in the months to come. Live music will surely be one of the last sectors to start operating as normal and so many musicians just don’t know how they will survive. And as the country sees more and more redundancies, there are fewer opportunities for musicians to take temporary jobs to make ends meet. We therefore decided that urgent action was needed to offer extra financial help - too many musicians are simply falling through the gaps of the support available.
“We’re pleased to have been able to support 16,700 people already in the first round of funding, and offering much needed help to many more during this second phase. This is why continued support is more vital than ever. As such, we asking individuals, corporate organisations and other bodies to donate, no matter how large or small, so that we can continue to help as many musicians as possible and ease the pressure until they can get back to work.”